4 key IT trends for CIOs to watch in 2024

2023 has been a challenging year for the CIO with cybersecurity, compliance, and generative AI firmly in the spotlight and featuring high on the boardroom agenda. Without question, CIOs took center stage as they navigated the digital transformation journey against a complex landscape dominated by regulatory changes and increased cybersecurity threats. According to Forrester [1], this will continue in 2024 with the CIO playing an even more crucial role in driving business growth through technology, as well as remaining focused on risk and security.

As outlined in our 2023 discussion paper A Synchronized Strategy for IT and Business, the CIO role has shifted significantly, from a traditionally behind-the-scenes function to a far more visible one with greater responsibilities outside the traditional IT realm. With the need to be across the entire business landscape, from market challenges to rapid technological advancements, CIOs are much more involved in strategic decision-making than ever before.

According to CIO [2], 70% of the 2023 State of the CIO survey respondents anticipate more involvement in business strategy over the next three years. So, what does the year ahead hold for the modern CIO?

The year ahead: keeping across the latest IT developments

CIOs must prepare for an even more challenging 2024 with ongoing economic uncertainty, geopolitical tension, supply chain disruptions, regulatory and compliance developments, and the urgent need to address legacy infrastructure challenges while ensuring they are keeping up with global interconnectivity. Further, in 2024 CIOs need to grow their businesses’ resilience and adaptability to a forever-changing landscape too, making their role all the while highly valuable as part of the C-suite.

To help CIOs get ready for the year ahead, we explore four key emerging IT trends that any IT or Technology leader must have on their radar for 2024.

Low earth orbit satellites set to spark enterprise interest

According to Tech Target [3], a low earth orbit satellite (LEO) is an object, generally a piece of electronic equipment, that circles around the earth at lower altitudes and is commonly used for communications, military surveillance, spying, and other imaging applications. Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite business, is an example of a LEO that has emerged as an increasingly popular alternative to traditional high-speed internet. Starlink has attracted close to 100,000 customers already in Australia as it delivers high internet speeds in difficult-to-reach areas, a key issue for people living or working in regional Australia [4]

And LEOs are not just for direct consumers. It also appeals to enterprises, as it provides high-speed internet access, network resilience, business continuity, and more reliable connectivity in remote and regional areas that have long experienced internet connectivity issues causing business disruption and challenges, particularly in mining and construction.

As a maturing market, with increasing competition from companies such as Amazon, it is certainly an area for CIOs to consider for their businesses in the future.

Cloud provider backbones are not new but increasing in importance

While cloud backbone isn’t a new trend, it will be even more important in the year ahead for CIOs, as cloud providers continue to present a compelling alternative to traditional telco MPLS offerings with a more scalable global offering building the foundations for edge computing.

Essentially, the cloud backbone is a core infrastructure component of the cloud network that connects all on-premises, cloud, multi-cloud, and edge elements over high bandwidth, low latency, and underlying networks operated by one or multiple public cloud providers. It forms an overlay network that abstracts the complexities and limitations of the underlying cloud infrastructure. It also offers network resiliency and network high availability as it can instantly reroute around failed underlying cloud infrastructure elements.

Core to the cloud computing ecosystem and offered by major cloud providers including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform, cloud provider backbones play a key role in delivering cloud services that have high-speed connectivity, increased network performance, and positive end-user experience. With worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services projected to exceed $1 trillion in 2027 [5], this is certainly an area for CIOs to be across.

Edge computing edges further up on the CIO agenda

As digital transformation accelerates, CIOs need to pay close attention to a key trend: edge computing. With IoT devices set to double from 15.1 billion USD in 2020 to over 29 billion USD in 2030 [6], networks risk becoming slower and more vulnerable. Edge computing, a distributed computing framework that brings enterprise applications closer to data sources [7], offers a potent solution. It optimizes bandwidth usage, reducing the burden on centralized cloud servers, as well as enhances the responsiveness of critical applications, and enables near-zero latency networks, which is vital for real-time decision-making in industries like healthcare, power distribution, and autonomous vehicles.

Furthermore, edge computing bolsters network security and reliability, mitigating the risks associated with relying solely on centralized cloud servers. In a digital-first world, edge computing is emerging as an indispensable tool for network optimization. With the amount of data being generated, captured, processed, and stored growing exponentially, enterprises are under increasing strain from bandwidth requirements. A problem that will continue to get worse, hindering network performance and cost savings.

AI continues to take center stage

The rapid growth of AI is reshaping the role and responsibilities of CIOs in businesses today. As AI continues to evolve, CIOs are required to stay ahead of trends and technologies, ensuring their organizations are prepared for what lies ahead. AI is now a board-level priority, as it has proven to be a powerful tool in business process automation and data management. Harnessing the potential of AI requires a detailed strategy, investment in upskilling and talent, and addressing legal and ethical issues. It is also crucial for CIOs to understand the implications of AI trends such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Computer Vision, Edge Intelligence, and Explainable AI. Coevolve Smart Services, with its focus on client’s business requirements and challenges, is leveraging AI to push the boundaries of traditional network management. By using available data at all layers of the technology stack, Coevolve Smart Services is providing value beyond product functionality and making services easy for clients to consume.

In summary, 2024 will be as challenging for the modern CIO as 2023. With ongoing economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruption, and rapid technology advancements complemented by heightened security risks, CIOs will continue to play a highly strategic role in any business. The astute CIO will actively keep their finger on the pulse with the latest technology trends, including the rise of LOEs, cloud backbone providers, edge computing, and AI.